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Cache or clock speed

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January 23, 2011 6:51:00 PM

Hello,
I've been trying to look for threads that would tell which is better for gaming, cache or the clock speed. I'm not really sure but based on what I have read, higher clock speed is better than having higher cache. Which one is more efficient for gaming?

More about : cache clock speed

January 23, 2011 6:58:47 PM

replied instead of quick post
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January 23, 2011 7:04:07 PM

Quote:
Depends on the Architecture



What do you mean by that? What if for example we compare 2 Intel cores with the following specification: A) 2.8GHz 8MB and B) 3.2GHz 4MB. If I max out the RAM, which of the 2 cores would be better for gaming?
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January 24, 2011 1:39:59 AM

emmanuelxian07 said:
What do you mean by that? What if for example we compare 2 Intel cores with the following specification: A) 2.8GHz 8MB and B) 3.2GHz 4MB. If I max out the RAM, which of the 2 cores would be better for gaming?

Depends on the game. But I suspect the higher clockspeed would be more advantageous in most cases. There was a whole lot of gaming benchmarks when the Athlon IIx4 first came out. The difference between the Athlon IIx4 and the Phenom IIx4 was the Athlon didn't have the cache.

In this test, the Athlon is at 3.1 while the phenom IIs are at 2.8 and 3.0:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Athlon_II_X4_645...

In most, the phenom II is better but on occasion the Athlon II is close or will even perform better.

That said however, this may be a more extreme comparison as the Athlon has virtually no cache and the phenom II has 8 megs.

I'll see if I can find something related to 6 megs vs 12 megs with the core 2 processors.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/51?vs=76
The processors are identical but the blue one has more cache. Gaming is at the bottom. We can see they are close but the more cache is slightly better. I suspect based on that, that the increased clockspeed of a 3.2GHz core 2 with 4 megs of cache would be a better performer than the 2.8 with 8 megs of cache.

This benchmark contradicts me:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/58?vs=87

I guess I really haven't given you much of an answer... and now I am tired and need sleep...
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January 24, 2011 4:15:50 AM

I agree with Enzo, that much clock speed would usually be more advantageous than cache, but cache affecting the performance really depends on the architecture of the CPU and the game.

The Core2 arch improved a decent amount with added cache, because they didn't have much to begin with(6MB shared between two cores was the highest it got). The game has to have enough info to put into the extra cache, but not have to draw from Ram too much of the time to really see the benefit of the cache in the game.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/89?vs=75

This shows the slower part can beat a slightly faster part with more cache, but they are only .16ghz apart. They also switch back and forth depending on how cache reliant the game is; the Q8400 wins in L4D while the Q9300 beats it in the other three.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/58?vs=59

Another one showing 50% more cache can beat an almost .4ghz difference in speed. They're going to be close in performance, so I don't think it matters which one you go with unless you can overclock both which would make the one with more cache better.
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January 26, 2011 7:11:16 AM

I like both answers and thanks a lot Enzo and Haserath. I do appreciate the time and effort you put in explaining this to me. With what you have said, I have now decided which processor I'll be getting. The reason why I was asking this was because I needed a hint which of the processors I've been deciding on is more future proof. I'll go with the 6 MB cache which has a higher clock speed. Thanks again.
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